Golf Channel's Big Break Series Chooses Sunshine State As Backdrop For 21st Season

By Golf Channel Public RelationsNovember 4, 2013, 5:43 pm

Golf Channel’s popular BIG BREAK reality competition series has picked Amelia Island, Fla., as the competition grounds for its 21st season, premiering Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. 

BIG BREAK FLORIDA, produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA and taking place at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, will feature a cast of 12 women competing to make their lifelong dreams of playing alongside the world’s top golfers come true.  The winner of BIG BREAK FLORIDA will receive an exemption to the 2014 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic (June 5-8, 2014), exempt status on the 2015 Symetra Tour with all entry fees waived, cash and other prizes. 

Filmed on location in October, the series will unfold at Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s three award-winning golf courses – Oak Marsh, Ocean Links and Long Point Golf Courses.  Oak Marsh Golf Course, a classic Pete Dye design, is ranked as one of the top 75 resort courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest and as one of “Florida’s 50 Finest Courses” by Travel & Leisure.  Ocean Links Golf Course, a Bobby Weed design, features five oceanfront holes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and winds through six miles of natural sand dunes and seaside terrain that is unique to Amelia Island.  Long Point Golf Course is a Tom Fazio design that features rolling fairways winding through three distinctive settings: marshlands, thick oak and pine forest, and scenic oceanfront dunes. 

“BIG BREAK is a cornerstone of our original series franchises, and it has proven to be a launching pad for many professional golfers hoping to break through to the LPGA Tour, including Solheim Cup veterans Kristy McPherson, Ryann O’Toole and Gerina Piller,” said Golf Channel Senior Vice President of Programming Tom Knapp.  “One of our objectives for BIG BREAK is to place the contestants in tournament golf conditions while showcasing a picturesque destination, and we accomplished both with BIG BREAK FLORIDA.  We are excited to partner with VISIT FLORIDA and Omni Amelia Island Plantation for the series’ 21st season.” 

“Golf Channel's selection of Omni Amelia Island Plantation as home to BIG BREAK FLORIDA validates our exceptional golf offerings and provides us with an incredibly unique opportunity to showcase the resort as a premier golf destination,” said Paul Eckert, general manager of Omni Amelia Island Plantation. “We are very excited and honored to represent the Omni brand, as well as the great state of Florida.”

“Big Break Florida is the start of a relationship between VISIT FLORIDA, NBC Sports and the Golf Channel that will showcase Florida as a preferred destination for leisure travel,” said Paul Phipps, VISIT FLORIDA’s Chief Marketing Officer.  “With nearly 1,500 courses to choose from in the Sunshine State, we look forward to this unique opportunity to reach Big Break’s audience of avid golf enthusiasts.”

Golf Channel’s BIG BREAK show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During BIG BREAK FLORIDA, the competitors – who will be announced in January – will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall” challenges.  One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded her BIG BREAK, an opportunity to compete on the LPGA Tour.

Past BIG BREAK champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour.

Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, BIG BREAK VII: REUNION champion and PGA TOUR professional, captured his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012 at The McGladrey Classic and is playing full-time on the PGA TOUR.  2013 Solheim Cup team member Gerina Piller (BIG BREAK PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND competitor), 2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole (BIG BREAK SANDALS RESORTS competitor) and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (BIG BREAK VI: TRUMP NATIONAL competitor) are currently playing full-time on the LPGA Tour.  Several other past BIG BREAK competitors are currently competing on the LPGA Tour, including Kim Welch, Nicole Smith and Kelly Jacques.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”